Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Chief Secretary Orville London said last night he "always operated within the law" and, as such, was not "overly concerned" with Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar's intention to probe projects in Tobago.
In a telephone interview, London said the law was open to interpretation.
"The Prime Minister may interpret the law in a particular way. I operate based on legal advice and based on the law," London said. "I don't know which law we have broken, but we never operate in a reckless manner," he said.
London said while everything was above board, he was concerned about the Prime Minister's intention to have the Attorney General probe two projects—the Bacolet Indoor and Aquatic Centre and the THA Administration Complex in Tobago.
"It is quite obvious that this is an attempt to politicise the THA election. The fact that the projects have engaged the Prime Minister's attention is evidence that it is about the elections. This is their style," London said.
London said people in Tobago know him and know he would always "steer clear of corruption".
"But again, it is no issue if the Prime Minister's interpretation of the law is different. It is not a criminal act, it is just a different interpretation of the law and we need to treat with it. The law needs to be clarified in this type of situation," he said.
London said the THA was being systematically starved of funding and was forced to entertain Build, Own, Lease, Transfer (BOLT) arrangements in order to start and complete necessary projects.
He said the THA requested $10 million for a scholarship programme and got $200,000. He requested $285 million for Housing and Settlement of over 500 houses, and got $28 million.
"The THA asked for $49 million to complete the Scarborough Library and got $8 million.
"With the Shore Park Cultural Complex, we asked for $20 million, we got $5 million," he said.
"It is in that context that the BOLT arrangements found favour," he said.
Joseph Rahael, director at Milshirv Properties Ltd, the company at the centre of the BOLT arrangements with the THA, yesterday said he "welcomed" the probe.
"We welcome any call for transparency and good governance," he said in a telephone interview last night.
Rahael said earlier in the week Sport Minister Anil Roberts made "false allegations" against him and his family, and he saw this as a chance to clear up any misunderstanding.
"This is a great opportunity for the name to be cleared. We believe in good governance and the due process," he said.
Rahael said he was not concerned by the Prime Minister's intention, but saw the probe as a chance to prove the BOLT arrangements in Tobago were "above board and transparent".